Jesus showed interest in making sick people well. It was not the focus of His ministry. Nevertheless, several cases of His healing the afflicted are recorded in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in giving accounts of His work, all mention cases of His making the sick well. For instance, when Jesus met a man with a shriveled hand in a synagogue, He told the man to stretch out his hand and the record says, “So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other” (Matthew 12:9-13). On another occasion, a lame man was “made well” (John 5:15). A woman drew power from Jesus to address her aliment and Jesus, commending her faith, said, “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34). Careful to mind the Spirit’s authority, the apostle, Peter, healed a lame man (Acts 3:6-8). Later, defending himself, Peter said, “It is by the name of Jesus of Nazareth…. that this man stands before you healed” (Acts 4:10).
In many of the cases where healing of the ill is mentioned, a word for ‘wholeness’ is used. Jesus and his apostles were interested in restoring folks to wholeness. The word hugies. The modern word hygiene is derived from it. Good, sound health was the result of the interventions Jesus exercised.
A form of this same word is use by the Lord to describe the nature or character of His teaching. For instance, in 1 Timothy 1:10, and Titus 1:9 and 2:1, the word hugiaino (sound, healthy) is used to qualify the doctrine of Christ. To be healthy a man must give heed to the doctrine of Christ. And it must be the doctrine of Christ for health to result. This is the word used in 2 Timothy 1:7 to tell us what it is God gives instead of and to displace “a spirit of timidity.” God gives “a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline” self-discipline literally being, “soundness of mind.” It is also the word used in 1 Peter 4:7 where the Christian is urged to be clear “clear minded and self-controlled;” clear-minded being the translation of hugiaino. And the text relates why this is important. The Christian must be healthy in mind in order to pray because “the end is near.” The term is also used in 1 Timothy 3:6 where this warning is sounded by the Lord: “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.”
Jesus is interested in making sinners whole. Yet, wholeness depends upon attending to the correct material. The doctrine of Christ is healthy. It is given to make men whole. To deny the doctrine of Christ is to invite the visitation of ill-health. To change or modify the doctrine of Christ is like changing a prescription. The wrong chemical, or the incorrect dosage could maim, injure, or kill. At best, the wrong prescription will be ineffective in effecting a cure. Only the correct medicine, applied in the prescribed way, will restore health. The great Physician, Jesus, knows what ails us. He knows best what will achieve our health. So, why do men and women want to do other than what His word says? Sinners who are converted to saints are those who “agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching.” And saints who slop into sin are those who do not “agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus and to godly teaching.” For excellent health choose the correct prescription. Choose – and agree with – the doctrine of Christ.
Frank J. Daniels, pulpit teacher and preacher